“The moment you discover in life that it’s not about yourself, that it is about investing in others, I think you’re entering a steadier state to be a great leader. Because above all, I think the main quality of a leader is to be a human being. There’s no reason you are special because you happen to have this job or these responsibilities.”
– Paul Polman
On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit – officially came into force. Over the next fifteen years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.
The SDGs build on the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and aim to go further to end all forms of poverty. The new Goals are unique in that they call for action by all countries, poor, rich and middle-income to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and addresses a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.
While the SDGs are not legally binding, governments are expected to take ownership and establish national frameworks for the achievement of the 17 Goals. Countries have the primary responsibility for follow-up and review of the progress made in implementing the Goals, which will require quality, accessible and timely data collection. Regional follow-up and review will be based on national-level analyses and contribute to follow-up and review at the global level.
UN Global Compact participants across industries are changing the way they operate to implement responsible practices and developing innovative solutions to address poverty and inequality, and support education, health and peace, to name just a few areas.
Businesses are achieving greater good. See what companies are doing.
The Sustainable Development Goals provide a powerful aspiration for improving our world – laying out where we collectively need to go and how to get there.
In September 2015, all 193 Member States of the United Nations adopted a plan for achieving a better future for all – laying out a path over the next 15 years to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and protect our planet. At the heart of “Agenda 2030” are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which clearly define the world we want – applying to all nations and leaving no one behind.
The new global goals result from a process that has been more inclusive than ever, with Governments involving business, civil society and citizens from the outset. We are all in agreement on where the world needs to go. Fulfilling these ambitions will take an unprecedented effort by all sectors in society – and business has to play a very important role in the process.
Responsible business and investment – rooted in universal principless – will be essential to achieving transformational change through the SDGs. For companies, successful implementation will strengthen the enabling environment for doing business and building markets around the world.
Below you will find links to important initiatives and resources of the UN Global Compact – and in some instances of other like-minded organizations – to guide companies and other stakeholders to action-oriented platforms and tools that support SDG implementation.
These Business and SDGs resources are curated with the help of our educational partner AIM2Flourish, the world’s first higher-education curriculum championing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. By making a fully tax-deductible donation, you can support AIM2Flourish’s global network of higher education institutions, professors, business leaders, and most importantly, students – the talented business leaders of tomorrow.
It is important to note that in many instances a specific initiative or resource has relevancy to more than one SDG, reflecting the cross-cutting nature of today’s issues and challenges. In an effort to simplify the table a given initiative or resource has been matched with a primary and/or select number of SDG(s). This table is meant to be an evolving resource and additional links to other relevant resources will be added in the future.
UN Sustainable Development Goals Introduction
Business and the SDGs
Engaging with the Private Sector
UN SDGs Progress Reports and Articles
UN SDGs App
SDGs and Cities
Some of the most exciting SDGs action is centered on cities and urban areas. Here are some resources to learn more:
Other SDGs Learning Resources